Professor Hurley is the head of the English Department at Wordsmith College. After Shade’s death, Professor Hurley circulates a memo around the English Department that claims that Shade’s final poem, “Pale Fire,” has fallen into the hands of a man “unqualified” to edit it, who also happens to have a “deranged mind.” Of course, Professor Hurley is talking about Kinbote (whom the readers already know to be unreliable, which makes Hurley seem credible). Due to Hurley’s credibility, it’s worth believing him when he says that Kinbote’s story about Gradus trying to assassinate the exiled King of Zembla is nonsense—according to Hurley, Shade was shot by an escaped lunatic who mistook Shade for Judge Goldsworth, which is a much more believable story than Kinbote’s.
Professor Hurley Character Timeline in Pale Fire
The timeline below shows where the character Professor Hurley appears in Pale Fire. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...a personal insult to his own competence and honesty. Right after Shade’s death, another professor—Professor Hurley—gave an interview suggesting that Shade intended “Pale Fire” to be far longer than four cantos.... (full context)
...not been in touch—it seems that “the Shadeans” negatively influenced her into asking that “ Prof H. ” and “Prof C.” become co-editors of the poem, a request that “precluded collaboration” with... (full context)
Commentary: Lines 49-98
Commentary: Lines 367-434
...but it’s also possible to take it as a reference to the current head, a professor Paul H., Jr. who is a terrible scholar. He and Kinbote sometimes interacted, but not often. Once, due... (full context)
Commentary: Lines 469-629